When streaming games from a gaming PC, one of the biggest concerns we may have is that streaming software slows down game performance, slowing performance . In this regard, there are two most widely used softwares, OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) and XSplit Broadcaster , two powerful streaming tools for the same purpose but quite different, and with a different performance impact. Which of the two has lower CPU consumption and, therefore, is more suitable for PCs with less powerful CPUs ?
Surely many of you may be thinking that the performance penalty will have a lot to do with the codecs that are being used, and it really is, or at least in part. Here OBS is more limited than XSplit , since it only offers H.264 and NVENC H.264, while XSplit also offers Intel Quick Sync, AMD VCE and a specific one for AVerMedia capturers included. XSplit is more versatile in this regard, but in terms of performance we will use H.264 as a reference since it is the only codec with which we can compare it, and it is also one of the most common currently.
OBS vs XSplit, how do they affect CPU consumption?
After our tests, carried out that yes with a team equipped with a Core i7-8700K that is not a really powerful CPU (but it helps us to see the margins with which both applications work), we have seen that there is a difference no too big when all you do is cast the captured screen of a game.
Broadcasting at 1080p and 60 FPS, OBS’s CPU consumption was kept between 3 and 12%, while with XSplit it was slightly higher, staying between 10 and 18% of CPU consumption. Where a considerable increase in consumption was noted is in the GPU, with OBS.
When you start to add things to the “scene”, such as a webcam or a logo, the CPU consumption gradually increases and the difference becomes much more noticeable, reaching in our test case a 20% cap with OBS and up to 35% in XSplit , denoting that of course the consumption of this latest software is much higher, although it is also noted that the XSplit codec has better quality than with OBS, that is, the image is seen with better quality to the detriment of performance.
In summary, OBS may be a better software for streaming if you have a mid-range CPU that is not very powerful and you notice slowdown in game performance; On the other hand, XSplit even in its free version consumes more resources from the PC processor, but in return it is capable of emitting with an increase in quality that without being a huge leap, it is noticeable.
What can you do if your PC is too slow when streaming?
It stands to reason that the higher the resolution and FPS you broadcast on your streaming, the greater the performance impact on your PC, so if you have an older or less powerful processor and OBS CPU consumption or XSplit is “killing” your broadcast, one of the things you can do is reduce the output resolution or the FPS you broadcast to.
You can also try to change your codec -especially if you have an NVIDIA and OBS graphics , since the NVENC H.264 codec will give you better performance- or lower its quality, always keeping in mind that this will obviously reduce the quality of your Live broadcast or the video you are recording.
Likewise, if the CPU consumption is too high perhaps you should try to reduce the sources you have on the scene, eliminating or reducing overlays and interactions with StreamLabs for example, since each source you add are resources that you will be consuming from the processor.
Likewise, if you are having performance problems you should make sure that you do not have other open programs consuming resources. It’s obvious, but who doesn’t have Chrome, Spotify, or other programs constantly open?